The Life of John Samuel EDMONDS 1799-1865
John Samuel EDMONDS was born in 1799, baptised 25 December 1799 the second son and 4th of 6 children to William EDMONDS who had been born in the coastal town of Swanage, Dorset in 1768 and Pricilla, also born in Swanage in 1770. William amd Pricilla were married on the 24 May 1791 at Langton, Dorset.
The children of William and Pricilla Edmonds were:-
Thomas Edmonds 1792 – Sarah Edmonds 1794 –
Hannah Edmonds 1797 – John Samuel Edmonds 1799 – 1865
Elizabeth Edmonds 1803 – William Edmonds 1805 – 1861
On the 25 July 1822 at Swanage John Edmonds married local girl,Mary Anne STICKLAND born in 1804 the daughter of William STICKLAND 1784-1859 and Mary ANDREWS 1783-1825.
In 1833 John EDMONDS with the children and Mary Anne heavily pregnant boarded the 'Elizabeth' and sailed for New Zealand via Hobart.
John Samuel EDMONDS had been sent to New Zealand to build the Stone Store in Kerikeri by the Christian Missionary Society who, unfortunately, omitted to inform the Missionaries of this fact.
In the meantime, William PARROTT, a stonemason from Sydney, had been employed to do this job since July 1832, and by the time that John EDMONDS arrived with his wife and children on 7 February 1834 the stonework was almost finished. He did, however, help with the finishing off of the Stone Store.
Missionary,Henry WILLIAMS found him somewhat of an embarrassment and wrote on 9 July, 1834: "Spoke to Mr EDMONDS at the request of the brethren, respecting his removal to the colony, as there did not appear to be any prospect of employment for him. Mr E. to give his views of the subject in a few days."
But John EDMONDS refused to leave NZ, and for nearly six years rented a house near the foreshore close to the Stone Store. During this time he did odd jobs such as putting in chimneys, etc. for the mission.
In their report to the CMS, the missionaries wrote: " Of those who are here, there is Mr EDMONDS, costing the Society 300 pounds per annum, of little more use than a fifth wheel on a coach."
During 1837-1838, John EDMONDS, seeing the writing on the wall. Bought about 2,700 acres on both sides of the Kerikeri River, and described it as: "Covered with fern, stones of a volcanic nature, caves. Swamps and rough grass and a very little wood.
In March, 1839 he agreed to retire from the mission, but he did not move onto his property at Paetae on the Kerikeri Inlet until 1840, when he had a house "imported from Hobart Town" to live in.
Sometime between 1841 and 1859 he built his sturdy stone house which had walls over half a metre thick.
The building itself appears to have been about 38 feet long and 28 feet wide. It had a large living room with tall windows on two sides, and a big open fireplace. Next to the living room was a large bedroom, while at the rear was a roomy kitchen in which was a stone oven. Directly opposite the kitchen door was another smaller building, also with a fireplace, while at the back door was a stone wash basin. The roof was of shingles and descendants of the Edmonds family think the house had a wooden verendah on three sides. He called his house "Belle Vue" after his home in Worcestor.
John EDMONDS and his sons then set to work to surround their home, garden and orchard with rock walls, and eventually it was almost impossible to approach the house from any direction but the north without first scrambling over one, two or even three of these near-impregnable stone fences. Within his compound was a cowbail, also of stone. To help him clear the land and plant it in wheat, potatoes, maize and fruit trees, he constructed a stone roller, the first to be made in New Zealand.
Locally, John EDMONDS was described as a "character who supervised his sons in the planting of wheat and building of stone walls with a stock whip."
Nevertheless, even though the wooden part of the house was later destroyed by fire, the Edmonds Ruins remain as a unique example of a farmhouse of an early settler who worked in stone.
The children of John EDMONDS and Mary Anne,nee STICKLAND were:-
1.Samuel John EDMONDS b:19 November 1823 Yorkshire. d: 18 June 1888 Auckland, New Zealand.m. Louisa MAKEPEACE 1833-1896 at Auckland, on the 8 November 1853.Louisa Makepeace was born in Tasmania. They had 11 children. Samuel is buried in Symonds St Cemetery, Auckland.
2.Arthur EDMONDS b: 21 September 1825 Worcester, Dorset. d:20 June 1914 at Otahuao, Kerikeri, Northland, New Zealand m. (1) Erana Kaire KAREARIKI at Paihia,in 1842 Produced 7-9 children. (2) Ani Ngarepe at Kaikohe in 1874, produced 4 children.
3.William EDMONDS b:20 Nov. 1829 Bidborough, Kent d:13 January 1897 in Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand. m. Emmaline Marie IRVING 1820-1910 at Kerikeri on 14 January 1856.
4.Henry EDMONDS b:4 November 1831 Southborough, Kent d:1 Nov. 1906 Honoroa, NZ m. Anne Catherine Wilson KEMP 1844-1914 on the 6 June 1861 at Paihia Bay of Islands, New Zealand
5.Alfred Stickland EDMONDS b: 4 JUly 1833 Kerikeri, NZ d:1898 m. Sarah Ann MAKEPEACE 1834-1916 in Auckland, New Zealand on the 12 December 1857
6.John Tucker EDMONDS so named after the Reverend John Tucker in England was born on 17 July 1834 Waimate, Bay of Islands, NZ d: 8 December 1918 Ngawha, Far North.married twice the second to Eliza PEKAMA 1858-1931 on 4 August 1878 and produced 16 children.
7.Jane Elizabeth EDMONDS b:30 May 1837 NZ d:23 July 1910 USA m.Edward George BUDLONG 1836-1907 at Kerikeri,18 May 1857.
8.Reuben Edmonds b:1839 NZ d: ?
9. Sarah Gammon EDMONDS b:1839 Kerikeri d:11 Sept. 1903 Waimate Bay m. (1)Louis Clifford GOFFE 1836-1882 at Paihia, Bay Of Islands in 1857 (2) Samuel PROCTOR in 1887.
10. Matilda EDMONDS b: 27 Dec.1843 NZ d:21 Aug. 1921 Waimate, Bay of Islands. m.John Wright HINGSTON 1842-1890 at Kerikeri, in 1864.
11. Joseph Edmonds b: 27 December 1845 Auckland d: 1878 Auckland. m. (1)Felicia Ann TREMAIN 1845-1872 in 1872 (2) Ann COYLE 1856-1931 in 1878 NZ
Mary Anne died on the 9 March 1862 at son's home in Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand
On the 21 January 1863 John Samuel EDMONDS remarried in Auckland, to Ellen DAVIES nee HUNTER,who had been born in England in 1805. He had 2 more children from his second marriage John George Petingale EDMONDS and Mary Anne EDMONDS.
Two years later on the 15 July 1865 John Samuel EDMONDS passed away at Kerikeri, Bay of Islands and was buried on that day 15 July 1865 at Kerikeri..
Researched and written by Janilye using several sources including notes from Florence Keene's "Legacies in Kauri, Old Homes and Churches of the North" Northern Publishing Co, 1978